Madeline Lusk – Director
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is made up a group of dedicated, passionate, caring and profession individuals including:
We have 28 professionals on staff including counsellors, victim service workers, prevention educators, development and administrative support. Our Leadership Team consists of our Executive Director, Direct Client Services Manager, Prevention Manager, and Resource Development Manager.
We have a range of committed and fabulous volunteers ranging from Sexual Assault Response Team members, Office and Event Volunteers. Find out more about how you can get involved.
Board of Directors
Melanie Wilson – Co-Chair
Melanie has an online greeting card business that she uses to fuel her passion for building and giving back to her community. In 2016 she was presented with the Making History award at Annual Black Community Business Awards Gala for her contributions to her community. She is a leader in the annual Provincial Employees Community Services Fund campaign inspiring her colleagues to support their community by donating to local charities they are passionate about. She volunteered as a big sister for six years mentoring the same young girl as she evolved into her teenage years and hopes to reconnect when her little sister is ready. She inspires people around her through her zest for adventures trying new things and inspiring social media posts. Her passions are leading with her heart inspiring others to shine their own light and share their unique gifts with the world and creating the space for people to show up as who they are in any given moment and honoring their freedom to be and contribute in the ways that work best for them in that moment. When Melanie is enjoying some down time you can find her in nature expanding her photography skills, walking along the ocean front, exploring her creativity through different art forms and taking opportunities to expand and grow her community.
Christoph Peck – Co-Chair
Christoph Peck grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned their Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics at Miami University of Ohio.
Over the past ten years, Christoph has built a career in data management, working primarily in the non-profit sector. They own their own business, helping community organizations use data in order to demonstrate their impact and the need for their services. Much of this work has focused on preventing sexualized violence against women and serving other oppressed and vulnerable communities. This includes data, database, and information management services for several member agencies related to this cause throughout Canada.
Christoph lives in Victoria with their husband and small, strange son Benjamin, who is also a dog. In their spare time, they enjoy practicing the piano, learning languages (French, Japanese, and ASL especially), and knitting and sewing. They are very excited to actively work to enrich their community by serving on the VSAC’s Board of Directors.
Nancy Carleton – Secretary
Nancy has 30 years of IT experience and spends her working time delivering multi-year, multi-million-dollar IT solutions for the public sector. She is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and served on the PMI Board of Directors for 4 years, 2 years as President. Nancy is also an amateur triathlete and loves travelling the world to compete in triathlons. She has participated in the Tri of Compassion since 2008 and it was through this event where she was first introduced to the work of VSAC and became an avid fundraiser.
Learning about the prevalence of sexualized violence, and being a victim of bullying, has made Nancy more conscious of society’s acceptance of this male dominating behaviour. Nancy is keen to apply her skills in business leadership and change management, and her passion to ‘get things done’, to help grow VSAC’s education and prevention work, while ensuring the funding necessary to provide prompt and supportive assistance to survivors. Nancy volunteers for multiple triathlons annually, primarily those for young children to provide them with a respectful, safe and fun experience that makes them feel both challenged and proud of their accomplishment, as these are good lessons to learn at an early age.
Kelsey Topola – Treasurer
Kelsey is an accountant pursuing her professional CPA designation. Having completed her studies at the University of Saskatchewan in December 2018, Kelsey moved to Victoria where she began to seek out opportunities to contribute to her new community. She was delighted to find VSAC, an organization that aligns closely with her values and beliefs, and she is looking forward to working with the staff and board to ensure the organization’s long-term financial health.
Before moving to Victoria, Kelsey taught writing at the University of Saskatchewan where she loved spreading her passion for grammar and helping students develop and express their thoughts on subjects ranging from Frankenstein’s monster to the composition of concrete.
Outside of work, Kelsey loves to read (Flannery O’ Connor in particular), practice yoga, watch scary movies, and take naps with her cats Ben and Bort.
Tina Lowery – Director
With what can best be described as an eclectic career history Tina (she/her) is honoured to be a member of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Board of Directors. Having worked in a wide range of sectors including Health Care, Arts & Culture, and Education in a variety of roles she hopes to share her unique perspective in supporting the work of the Centre. Committed to community building she is also an advocate for volunteerism and also sitting on the board of Volunteer Victoria.
Tina has a Master’s Degree from the University of Victoria’s School of Public Administration in Community Development with a research focus on cross-sector collaboration. She also holds a CPHR (Chartered Professional in Human Resources) certification and is a passionate life long learner. In her spare time, she enjoys walks with her dog, exploring the world’s natural and human history, cooking, and is grateful to be living on Vancouver Island.
Ram Aheer – Director
Ram was born on the land of the lək̓ʷəŋən People, currently known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. They are an uninvited guest on this land, just as their father, great uncle, and great grandfather were. Ram calls this land their home, and they genuinely enjoy playing, working, and living on this land. As a person of colour, it is with great sadness they have experienced racism on this beloved colonized land.
Ram is a firm believer in the tools and supports the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) provides those who have been victims of and are recovering from sexual violence. Over the years, they have contributed to meaningful fundraising efforts for VSAC. In one action, they were able to locate 50% of the funding for windows in the counselling offices and continues to seek out funding in meaningful ways.
Ram is in a position where they have the desire, energy, and passion required to give to the community in a meaningful way. Ram has been described as a caring and altruistic person; and is happiest when giving back and caring for others.
Ram desires to use their Master’s Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University and the skills they have developed during their career as a leader, organizer, strategic planner, analytical thinker, and effective communicator as a Director VSAC.
Laura Benoit – Director
Laura (she/her) was born and raised in Calgary, on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. After spending ten years working in both fundraising and communications in the Lower Mainland, Laura is grateful to now be living, working, and playing on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen peoples. Laura has extensive experience with charities and non-profits, having worked with Seva Canada Society, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Currently, Laura works in communications for the Ministry of Citizens’ Services with the BC Public Service.
Volunteerism is incredibly important to Laura. She previously served as the President & Fundraising Co-Chair for Tara Cheyenne Performance, and has volunteered with Special Olympics BC, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Alzheimer Society of BC, and Ovarian Cancer Canada. Laura currently volunteers as a resident contributor to Fernwood’s neighbourhood newspaper, the Village Vibe. In her spare time, she can be found reading science fiction, exploring the island’s many beautiful hiking trails, testing out a new board game with her partner, or trying a new knitting project.
Passionate about supporting her community and being a part of ending sexualized violence, Laura is honoured and humbled to be supporting the work and staff of VSAC, and contributing to the organization’s goals of healing, prevention, and education.
Samuel Geisterfer – Director
Samuel Geisterfer is originally from Treaty 6 Territory in Edmonton, Alberta. He is passionate about building strong and resilient communities and is grateful to currently be doing so in Lekwungen and WSÁNEC territories. Samuel is currently a student in the JD/JID program at the University of Victoria.
Alexandra da Silva – Director
While having moved 19 times and counting, Allie da Silva (she/her) considers the place she grew up to be on Treaty 7 territory, known colonially as Calgary. Allie is currently finishing up her Bachelors of Commerce degree and is grateful to be doing so at the University of Victoria on Lekwungen and WSÁNEC territories. Once she graduates, Allie plans to pursue law school to obtain her JD. Through multiple co-op terms working for an Indigenous-owned organization, Steel River Group, Allie has developed a variety of knowledge as it relates to business competencies that she hopes to utilize in her work on the board. Allie is thrilled and honored to be serving on the Board of Directors of VSAC and to support a cause near-and-dear to her heart.
Community-work and volunteerism have always been a passion of Allie’s. Allie most recently served on the board of Learning Through Loss as the Director of Communications for 2 years and is actively involved in leading fundraising efforts through her Commerce Students’ Society at UVic for a variety of organizations like the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society and the Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health. In her spare time, Allie loves to get lost in nature, curl up with some good books (her favourite being Blink by Malcolm Gladwell), and to celebrate being alive by doing fun & wacky things (most recently by bungee jumping!).